|Kelly Rouba and Paul Williams (front) and his wife Mariana Williams (back)|
The Arthritis National Research Foundation recently invited Kelly Rouba, a Mercer County, New Jersey native, to speak about living with arthritis at a special fundraiser with Paul Williams in Orange County, CA. Williams is an Oscar, Grammy, and Golden Globe-winning Hall of Fame songwriter, as well as President and Chairman of the Board of The American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP).
Williams’ songs have been recorded by many musical icons, including Elvis Presley, The Carpenters, Frank Sinatra, and Willie Nelson. He is known for writing the theme to TV’s “The Love Boat” and many other songs, including “We’ve Only Just Begun” and “Just An Old Fashioned Love Song.” Moreover, his songs “The Rainbow Connection,” from the children’s classic The Muppet Movie, and “Evergreen” from A Star is Born grace the American Film Institute’s list of the top 100 movie songs of all time.
In tribute to Rouba, Williams allowed the Arthritis National Research Foundation to use his song “Save Me a Dream” as the background music for the video the foundation created on The Kelly Award for Juvenile Arthritis Research, an annual grant of $75,000 named in her honor.
Rouba, now 30, was diagnosed with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis at the age of 2. The disease has taken such a toll on her body that she lives in constant pain and relies on a wheelchair to get around.
|Dr. Susannah Brydges (left; first recipient of The Kelly Award) along with Kelly Rouba and Paul Williams (front) and his wife Mariana Williams (back)|
“What pains me as much as the disease itself is that the general public is still largely unaware that people of any age—even infants—can get arthritis,” Rouba said, adding, “In the United States alone, about 300,000 children and 50 million adults have a form of arthritis. Sadly, there is no cure and many of the treatments out there often don’t work for long, if at all.
“I am excited that Paul Williams has teamed up with the Arthritis National Research Foundation to help support our mission to fund cutting-edge research in order to find a cure for arthritis and related diseases.”
|Kelly Rouba and Paul Williams (front) and Frank and Kerry Rouba (back; Kelly's parents)|
Rouba will also be a guest speaker at the Arthritis National Research Foundation’s gala event, a “Tribute to Paul Williams”, on May 22 at Herb Alpert’s Vibrato Jazz Grille in Bel Air, CA. At the event, Williams will perform and he has offered to write a personalized song for the highest bidder as part of the evening’s festivities.